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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced a new bonding education program aimed at helping qualified small and disadvantaged businesses compete for government contracting opportunities.
In collaboration with the Surety and Fidelity Association of America (SFAA), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) will host a series of pilot education workshops to get small businesses bond ready.
The start dates and city locations for the pilots are Chicago, May 27; Dallas, June 10; and Atlanta, June 24.
“President Obama, Vice President Biden and I want to ensure that as the economy recovers, small businesses have every opportunity to compete successfully for contracts in the transportation and construction industries,” said LaHood in a written statement.
OSDBU Director Brandon Neal said he thinks “the program will go a long way to provide the type of targeted assistance that small businesses competing in the transportation industry need right now. It will really help level the playing field for smaller companies eager to compete.”
Companies accepted into this program will receive expert guidance from SFAA to help prepare them for bond readiness. Once bonded, companies can land bigger and better contracts without having to rely on a prime contractor, as they’ve been required to in the past. For many small companies, bonding authority signals an important step toward greater independence and opens the door to new opportunities for growth and expansion.
The program includes a 10-week course covering an array of subjects to help small businesses become bondable. At the end of 10 weeks, businesses are paired with local bond producers to work side by side in the bonding process.
The businesses that are expected to attend include small businesses, Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, 8(a) firms, Woman Owned Businesses, Historically Underutilized Business Zone firms, Veteran Owned Small Businesses and Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses.